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Poroshenko, Putin meet

June 6, 2014

Ukraine's president-elect has met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in France. Their short, informal meeting came on the sidelines of ceremonies to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Image: Reuters

News agencies on Friday cited an official from French President Francois Hollande's office who said Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President-elect Petro Poroshenko had spoken for a total of 15 minutes.

"The conversation took place on possible measures to de-escalate (the Ukraine crisis) including how Moscow could recognize the election of Poroshenko. The details of a ceasefire will also be discussed in coming days," the unnamed official said.

News agencies also reported that they had spoken briefly in the presence of Chancellor Merkel, with whom Putin had held an hour of formal talks in Benouville.

On Thursday, Merkel had met with Poroshenko in Berlin, when the chancellor pledged Germany's broad support in his efforts to overcome the crisis in Ukraine.

All three were among the world leaders in France on Friday to mark the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. In the days leading up to the ceremonies, there had been much speculation about whether Poroshenko and Putin would actually speak.

Their meeting comes a day after the leaders of the Group of Seven leading industrialized countries wrapped up talks with a call for de-escalation in fighting between government troops and pro-Russia separatists in eastern Ukraine. They also called on Putin to recognize the outcome of Ukraine's recent presidential election.

Obama meets Putin

Meanwhile, the White House has confirmed that US President Barack Obama also met with Putin for brief informal talks on Friday.

"President Obama and President Putin did speak with each other on the margins of the leaders lunch," the DPA news agency cited deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes as saying. "It was an informal conversation - not a formal bilateral meeting," he added.

pfd/hc (AP, Reuters, AFP, dpa)